Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Mourners attend James McConnell funeral after Facebook appeal

James McConnell
Image caption Care home staff believe Jimmy McConnell had no close family

More than 200 people attended the funeral of a former serviceman following a Facebook appeal, amid fears he would be buried without mourners.

James McConnell died last month aged 70 and staff at his care home in Southsea, Hampshire, were concerned they would be the only people at his funeral.

But word spread after messages were posted on Facebook about the funeral at Milton Cemetery, Portsmouth.

The Reverend Bob Mason thanked mourners for their kindness.

'Generosity of spirit'

Royal British Legion standard bearers led a small procession through the cemetery followed by a group of flag-bearing motorcyclists.

The service concluded with two buglers from the Royal Marines Band Service playing the Last Post.

Image caption A motorcycle cavalcade turned out for the funeral

Addressing the congregation, Mr Mason said: "The great majority of you who have come here today did not know James McConnell but wanted him to have a dignified farewell.

"I thank you for that kindness and generosity of spirit."

Danny Marshall, a former Royal Marine, said: "It was mentioned wrongly that he did not have family: the corps family is bigger and better than most people would know about.

"We are all family and always will be."

Mr McConnell, who was known as Jimmy, arrived at Bluebell Nursing Home in Southsea in December and lived there until his death the following month.

More on this story